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#21061 - 04/29/07 08:48 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Mike Kremer]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer
I believe this because the individual is expendable in the scheme of thing.


This is what I am talking about and this is why an effective narrative to explain who we are is imperative.

At the core of religion is the concept that all human life is sacred, even if it does not always come out in practice. Each life has value.

Science, however, tells us that we are:

One insignificant bag of genes crawling on the surface of an insignificant ball of dirt traveling through an insignificant part of an insignificant universe.

And that bag of genes is driven to survive and that pretty much everything it does is a result of genetic drives that it does not even perceive, but mistakenly labels as love, indignation, righteous anger, compassion etc.

As Dan has said:

"We are nothing more than calculating machines."


...And we are expendable.

Can we really not see what justified horrors of social engineering we open up with all those expendable people - for the greater good?

Can we really not see what this does to the psyche?

Do we not realize why we have an ever growing army of children with behavioral issues and depression, causing us to use Ritalin and other drugs to sedate a generation?

Do we not see why we have teens now, who despairing in their existential angst, take up arms and slaughter their classmates in a desperate attempt to gain some significance (with press releases readily prepared).

If religion is wrong and science is right, then how do we respond to this?

You say, and maybe rightly so, that it is not science's place to provide any meaning to life - but I suppose I feel that as the practice of science has stripped all meaning, those engaged in it have some responsibility to realize what they have done and try to address it.

I know I'm being really dense here, but I can't help the way I feel - it is beyond my control - I have an evolutionary drive to feel significant so that I can play my part in the group and therefore maximize survival potential smile

Blacknad.

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#21062 - 04/29/07 09:10 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Revlgking wrote:

"It is about things that have mass, volume and which occupy space and time, and move within them."

In this case I'm thinking of sciences that tell us about human behaviour; such as psychology, sociology etc. and even anthropology. These sciences are already used to help manipulate populations to some extent, usually to sell such things as toothpaste. Or political parties. They will eventually tell us a great deal about how human societies work. It will be over to "The People" to tell politicians how we should use the results of those sciences.

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#21068 - 04/29/07 12:10 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
redewenur Offline
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Posts: 1840
Terry: "It will be over to "The People" to tell politicians how we should use the results of those sciences."

- Yes, I think you're right - if they have the good fortune to live in a benign and democratic state...
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21069 - 04/29/07 01:39 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
It looks like, as we dialogue, we are experiencing a lot of consensus here. As you put it, Terry: "I'm thinking of sciences that tell us about human behaviour; such as psychology, sociology etc. and even anthropology." These are often referred to as "soft sciences".

RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY--father and mother of the sciences
The parents of all the sciences was, of course, religion and philosophy.

Interestingly, the great psychiatrist, Carl Jung came to respect the nature and value of a philosophical (rational) approach to religion. He broke, in a civilized sort of way, with his mentor, Sigmund Freud over Freud's atheism and his cynical view of religion (Check his small book, Future of an Illusion).

Back in the early 1960's, while taking a year of Jungian studies, I remember reading Carl Jung http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/jung.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung
http://www.cgjungpage.org/
In his writings Jung called for the development of a "science of the spirit". At the time, knowing a little Greek, I made up the word "pneumatology" to use in my lectures and sermons on faith and healing. Not long after that I obtained an excellent dictionary published by World Book.

My two-volume WB dictionary has the word "pneumatology"--study of the spirit and an archaic word for psychology. Basically, it is the science of the human spirit, "we the people".
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21085 - 04/30/07 05:41 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
"RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY--father and mother of the sciences" -Revl

I'm not sure how I feel about that one. I could argue for and against.

I was struck by a comment, I think it's from Christopher Hitchens, who sees religion as the enemy of culture (I think).

He was talking about how obvious it is that our culture evolved from the chimpanzees. Then he went on to say it was equally true that our religions also obviously evolved from the chimapanzees.

~not that there's anything wrong with that!
Anyway, he's a pretty arrogant guy; but funny!

So, what does pneumatology say about the different ways of knowing? Can we hold contradictory schema of the world, and not damage ourselves?

Is Science the answer, or is science an answer?

~~Samwik

_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21096 - 04/30/07 09:27 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Revlgking wrote:

'These are often referred to as "soft sciences"'.

They will gain more respect as they use scientific methods of measrement and experiment more and more.

Redewenur wrote:

"if they have the good fortune to live in a benign and democratic state..."

As a skit in Monty Python said, "This is where my claim falls to the ground". Are there any such things as benign and democratic states? I believe we should definitely be supporting any that do exist.

Samwik. I'm not familiar with Chris Hitchins. I'll have to look him up.

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#21111 - 04/30/07 10:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Samwik asks:
Quote:
So, what does pneumatology say about the different ways of knowing?
Thanks for your question, Samnwik.IMHO, as a science, pneumatology, like all sciences, does not say anything. It is simply a tool which explores things. People, as scientists, are what say things.

For example, I first heard about pneumatology in 1965. After many decades studying the subject, I now consider myself to be a beginner pneumatologist.

This means that I am a curious human spirit who is ready and willing to admit that there are many things about which I am ignorant. Therefore, I am also ready and willing to ask numerous questions, and to do experiments, having to do with how the human spirit works.

Like with all the sciences, the answers I get will be determined by how brutally honest I am ready and willing to be.

Samwik, you ask: "Can we hold contradictory schema of the world, and not damage ourselves?"

Please expand on what you mean by your qquestion.

You ask: "Is Science the answer, or is science an answer?"

I agree with those who say that science is simply a tool which we are free to use in our search for answers.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21123 - 05/01/07 04:14 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Pneumatology holds the same relation to science as astrology and theology. Its practitioners may call themselves scientists, but garbage men can call themselves sanitation "engineers." Until I see them studying PDEs and material's science, they're just playing word games.

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#21125 - 05/01/07 04:37 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Blacknad wrote:
Do we not realize why we have an ever growing army of children with behavioral issues and depression, causing us to use Ritalin and other drugs to sedate a generation?

Do we not see why we have teens now, who despairing in their existential angst, take up arms and slaughter their classmates in a desperate attempt to gain some significance (with press releases readily prepared).

Whilst these are undoubtedly true incidents now, I have always been extremely uneasy with the "things are SO hard for young people today" school of thought. Things weren't so ginger peachy for Anne Frank and others of her generation. They didn't sit around whining and slaughtering their friends, instead they tried hard to survive. Maybe that is what is wrong, it's just too easy when the consequence of sulking and violence is a denial of resonsibility. Then there's the gun control problem too.

Back on topic-ish. How could anyone suggest that religion and philosophy are sciences? It makes as much sense as arguing for the scientific proof of the existence of the divine, and as big a waste of time.

Pneumatology sounds like the study of car tyres. Did you make it up?

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#21127 - 05/01/07 05:43 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
TFF: Some people are interested in the exploring new ideas and new ways of getting things done; some are not. Some fear new ideas; some do not. Some of us are curious; some are not. Some encourage the exploration of new ideas; some do not. Some are obscurants; some are not.

That is what makes exploring the nature and function of the human spirit (the pneuma) facinating for me.

BTW, my curiosity led me to do a google on "the new psychologies". Here is the first thing that came up:

http://www.socionics.com/main/welcome.html

But is it really all that new?
In 1884 John Dewey wrote about THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY:
http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Dewey/newpsych.htm
*****
He began his essay by acknowledging the work of the early psychologists who took a subjective approach to the subject, but he then added:
Quote:
What can be meant, then, by saying that the rise of this physiological psychology has produced a revolution in psychology? This: that it has given a new instrument, introduced a new method,-- that of experiment, which has supplemented and corrected the old method of introspection.

=====

Here is the concluding part of the essay:

Quote:
...From this general characteristic result most of its features. It has already been noticed that it insists upon the unity and solidarity of psychical life against abstract theories which would break it up into atomic elements or independent powers.

It lays large stress upon the will; not as an abstract power of unmotivated choice, nor as an executive power to obey the behests of the understanding, the legislative branch of the psychical government, but as a living bond connecting and conditioning all mental activity. It emphasizes the teleological element, not in any mechanical or external sense, but regarding life as an organism in which immanent ideas or purposes are realizing themselves through the development of experience. Thus modern psychology is intensely ethical in its tendencies. As it refuses to hypostatize abstractions into self-subsistent individuals, and as it insists upon the automatic spontaneous elements in man's life, it is making possible for the first time an adequate psychology of man's religious nature and experience.

As it goes into the depths of man's nature it finds, as stone of its foundation, blood of its life, the instinctive tendencies of devotion, sacrifice, faith, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles of the nations upon the altar stairs which slope up to God.

It finds no insuperable problems in the relations of faith and reason, for it can discover in its investigations no reason which is not based upon faith, and no faith which is not rational in its origin and tendency. But to attempt to give any detailed account of these features of the New Psychology would be to go over much of the recent discussions of ethics and theology. We can conclude only by saying that, following the logic of life, it attempts to comprehend life.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21132 - 05/01/07 07:47 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
samwik Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
TFF: Some people are interested in the exploring new ideas and new ways of getting things done; some are not. Some fear new ideas; some do not. Some of us are curious; some are not. Some encourage the exploration of new ideas; some do not. Some are obscurants; some are not.

That is what makes exploring the nature and function of the human spirit (the pneuma) facinating for me.

BTW, my curiosity led me to do a google on "the new psychologies". Here is the first thing that came up:

http://www.socionics.com/main/welcome.html

But is it really all that new?
In 1884 John Dewey wrote about THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY:
http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Dewey/newpsych.htm
*****
He began his essay by acknowledging the work of the early psychologists who took a subjective approach to the subject, but he then added:
Quote:
What can be meant, then, by saying that the rise of this physiological psychology has produced a revolution in psychology? This: that it has given a new instrument, introduced a new method,-- that of experiment, which has supplemented and corrected the old method of introspection.

=====

Here is the concluding part of the essay:

Quote:
...From this general characteristic result most of its features. It has already been noticed that it insists upon the unity and solidarity of psychical life against abstract theories which would break it up into atomic elements or independent powers.

It lays large stress upon the will; not as an abstract power of unmotivated choice, nor as an executive power to obey the behests of the understanding, the legislative branch of the psychical government, but as a living bond connecting and conditioning all mental activity. It emphasizes the teleological element, not in any mechanical or external sense, but regarding life as an organism in which immanent ideas or purposes are realizing themselves through the development of experience. Thus modern psychology is intensely ethical in its tendencies. As it refuses to hypostatize abstractions into self-subsistent individuals, and as it insists upon the automatic spontaneous elements in man's life, it is making possible for the first time an adequate psychology of man's religious nature and experience.

As it goes into the depths of man's nature it finds, as stone of its foundation, blood of its life, the instinctive tendencies of devotion, sacrifice, faith, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles of the nations upon the altar stairs which slope up to God.

It finds no insuperable problems in the relations of faith and reason, for it can discover in its investigations no reason which is not based upon faith, and no faith which is not rational in its origin and tendency. But to attempt to give any detailed account of these features of the New Psychology would be to go over much of the recent discussions of ethics and theology. We can conclude only by saying that, following the logic of life, it attempts to comprehend life.


"...the instinctive tendencies of devotion, sacrifice, faith, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles...." -John Dewey

Sounds like they were trying to reconcile religion & psychology.

I quoted the above because if you get rid of the religious words (devotion, sacrifice, faith), and substitute:

"a drive to seek ultimate significance," I think there'd be a statement with which we could all agree.

Thus:

"...the instinctive tendencies of a drive to seek ultimate significance, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles...." -John Dewey (coined)

Anyway, I ran across that phrase lisening to a panel discussion on religion and culture (BookTV).

As a "human" genetic trait, I thought it might explain alot:

...a drive to seek ultimate significance.

~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21134 - 05/01/07 11:59 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Originally Posted By: samwik


...Sounds like they (thinkers like William James, John Dewey, etc.) were trying to reconcile religion & psychology.

I quoted the above because if you get rid of the religious words (devotion, sacrifice, faith), and substitute:

"a drive to seek ultimate significance," I think there'd be a statement with which we could all agree.

Thus:

"...the instinctive tendencies of a drive to seek ultimate significance, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles...." -John Dewey (coined)

Anyway, I ran across that phrase lisening to a panel discussion on religion and culture (BookTV).

As a "human" genetic trait, I thought it might explain alot:

...a drive to seek ultimate significance.

~SA
Bang on, SA. Interestingly, over the decades, Dewey, went back and forth, theologically. More than once he was accused to being an atheist, a left-wing socialist, even a communist, among other things. Perhaps he was, now and then smile.

Socrates, Aristotle and even Jesus received the same kind of accusations by those who used a different kind of semantics.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21135 - 05/01/07 02:25 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
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Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
rev: "Some people are interested in the exploring new ideas and new ways of getting things done"

People can explore all they wish, but not every "search" is an application of science.

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#21137 - 05/01/07 03:00 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
...People can explore all they wish, but not every "search" is an application of science.
In the spirit of dialogue, I am interested in having an example or two of subjects which you feel are not open to research and of no interest to serious scientists.

One example that comes to my mind is the idea, taught by the traditional religions and one that is accepted by millions of people, is this: God is a person who, among other things, hears and answers, yes, to our petitions, our prayers.

I have no problem with people who say, "we believe such and such to be true". But surely, they should be challenged to demonstrate how factually true, in the scientific sense of the word, it really is.

It seems to that there is some value in using science to demonstrate that such and such is irrational nonsense. Even the traditional religions speak of certain religious practices as superstition--irrational religion. "The religion of feeble minds" as Edmund Burke called it.


_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21138 - 05/01/07 03:10 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
" In the spirit of dialogue, I am interested in having an example or two of subjects which you feel are not open to research and of no interest to serious scientists. "

You're misunderstanding my point. I didn't say there were subjects that were not open to research and were no interest to scientists. I said that not every type of inquiry is a scientific inquiry.

Not every opinion a scientist has is a scientific and professional opinion. Not every inquiry he makes is a scientific inquiry.

You're hung up on the idea that science grew up as part of philosophy, but you seem utterly oblivious to the fact that it has broken off - and is now its own thing.

Why do you think that occurred?

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#21139 - 05/01/07 03:11 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
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Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
"But surely, they should be challenged to demonstrate how factually true, in the scientific sense of the word, it really is."

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#21140 - 05/01/07 03:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
TFF writes "... you seem utterly oblivious to the fact that it has broken off - and is now its own thing."

In what way is science on its own? Illustrate.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21143 - 05/01/07 07:25 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
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Science - by which I mean actual science, and not just any random thought that comes into a person's head - is an area of inquiry in its own right. It has a method, it has philosophy. It has a realm of application.

Science does not *do* god. It does not *do* supernatural. Any attempt to apply science to problems of religion is using a screwdriver to hammer a nail. It's the wrong tool.

In particular, scientists try to explain the basic scientific entities and its fundamental axioms in the clearest, least ambiguous terms possible. And when they apply their reasoning, they try to be very careful when they are talking about logical necessity and when they are talking about reasonable conclusions and when they are just stating their personal opinions. They don't conflate 20 different ideas and say, "there, i've proved it. next topic." A perfect example is when you were talking about God being everything and I asked does that include feces and you came back with the metaphor of the donut. Look, science doesn't give a rat's rear whether something is desirable. We're trying to figure out the IS, not the OUGHT or the I-wished -it-WERE.

This is not to say that philosophy and science cannot work together, but only that they are distinct. Conflating philosophy
and science is bad science. Using science to lend credibility to purely philosophical points is bad science.

The subject of God is one example. Another is that there is no scientific reason whatever to believe that "a supernatural spirit" exists. None. And even if it did exist, it's not something science can address. The very instant a person brings that subject into the conversation, we know that they are misapplying science.

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#21144 - 05/01/07 09:57 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, Author

Now I have to agree with TFF on the main point, "It [science] has a realm of application." -TFF
"And even if it [supernatural] did exist, it's not something science can address." -TFF

Two different realms that do not relate well to each other; do not speak the same language.

My point is that we ought to be able to use both operating systems (both realms) at our own discretion. It's like using Quantum Mechanics or Relativity to understand the universe. The fact that they differ by 120 orders of magnitude doesn't mean we still don't find them useful (at our discretion).

Now using them at the same time is an HNL (whole 'nother level). smile

I think that often people assume one precludes the other. That's why so many people won't admit to believing in evolution (they think it means they're admitting to not believing in God), and they don't want to do that in public (on the record).

It might be better to ask people if they 'understand' evolution, rather than if they 'believe' in evolution.

~~SA

p.s. ...and speaking of 'understanding' evolution, Thanks TFF!
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21146 - 05/01/07 10:15 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
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Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
"I think that often people assume one precludes the other."
I agree.

"It might be better to ask people if they 'understand' evolution, rather than if they 'believe' in evolution."

I *would* agree with this except that most creationists are absolutely convinced that they understand evolution.

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